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How has it been working with a Western company so closely?
SN: Yes, I'm enjoying it. (Laughs) But most days, we're fighting -- positive fighting, I mean. But I have some confidence about the quality of the game, and I know how to make this game much better -- even great. I order them on what to do, and how, and sometimes they don't like my way. (Laughs) But I think, yes, with my way we would get higher scores and reputation from the audience.
I think this is a kind of Japanese way and not Western way, because Western people have more discussion, but I always make a decision for everything. This is not the necessarily a Japanese way, but I guess it's a kind of Kojima Productions way.
Why did you decide you wanted to go outside of Kojima Productions and do something else?
SN: I jumped to make my own new IP because I think Konami needs new IP, but it's complicated. In Kojima Productions, we have some obligations to make a franchise. My ex-boss (laughs) wanted me to make games in the franchise, but I didn't think so.
When I got out of Kojima Productions, I wanted to make another kind of title because I, personally, love portable games -- just like DS and PSP -- but my new boss wanted me to make a new IP, but for Xbox 360 and PS3. He ordered me to work with an overseas company because Konami needs to work with companies all over the world. I'm not the first, but, yes, we needed more cases to work with them. This is the reason why I'm making this game.
Konami has always had a relationship with Western developers but it's been somewhat unsuccessful. With Silent Hill: Homecoming and other games, something not quite as successful as it should be. What do you think about the company's relationships with Western studios?
SN: In a sense, I disagree with you because, for example, Castlevania; we have such a good relationships with MercurySteam. I'm unsure about the details, but it's just a work between a Spanish team and Konami Europe.
In another sense, [these relationships] were not so successful between Konami Japan and overseas developers. I can't really tell you [the details]. It's just a challenge. We recognize it, and, yes, this is the reason why my boss wants to work with them. This is a challenge, and now we believe it will be successful to work with overseas companies.
Working with an external developer is difficult when they essentially become essentially just a work-for-hire studio. With MercurySteam, it seems like a lot of their own ideas are in Castlevania. The other way, a top-down kind of situation, doesn't tend to work as well.
SN: I understand. I feel the same thing -- because it's so difficult and tough for me, yes. But I was originally a designer and also a director.
I'm working as producer now, but, yes, at the same time I am working as designer. I provided details for the gameplay and everything, and I think I have a definite vision of the final game. It makes it easier for me to answer everything. When they ask me something -- you know, "Which is better?" or "How should I do it?" I can answer that every time.
The point is: I'm staying on the team, and I always am staying among the team and working with them. I can answer anytime. If I am in Japan, it's so difficult to respond to them. It takes hours. But now I am staying with them.
So you're actually in the U.K.?
SN: Yeah. I have been staying in the U.K. for four months, from last year, and working with them. I also have a team of Japanese in Japan, but I mainly work with them as a producer and designer. I have daily meetings with them. I'm also writing script and dialogue, and explanations and specifications.